Monday 4 July 2011

Hits From The Box #25 - Highs and Lows

Its quite fitting that Hits From The Box hits a quarter century today. Its been a momentous week - the Queensland Reds are into the Super Rugby final, my best mate turned 30, started the home stretch as far as my Masters is concerned, another mate had his bucks' night, and I had my first cover story. There have been some hairy times in the past 25 weeks of course - the fact that I am now based in Brisbane, Australia as opposed London, England is the epitome of this. But like everything else, you turn the lows into highs. And to mark the occasion I think we have one of the strongest sets of Hits From The Box yet - so let's have at it!

I'm kicking off with Cheerleader today, even though I know next to nothing about them. A duo, they have jut released their first two tracks, which are acid washed hazy summer jams. it may be stuff you've heard before, but goddamn if it doesn't feel more heartfelt and warm than others of their ilk. I'm interested to know more, and see where this is all leading. Colour me intrigued.

Cheerleader - New Daze

Weston of Denver band The Transformations got in touch over a mutual love of Tjutjana. The Transformations also mine the psych side of the musical spectrum, although their journey is a more intricate affair, delving into woozy folk jams that meander to the point of abject failure, lost in a Kelly Reichardt-like existential malaise. Curse All Summers isn't so much an anti-beach folk pop album as just its opposite number - intrinsically linked to the forest and the earth, the dirt clinging to the skin, taking root in the rich soil. There are textures here that be seen in the works of Zach Condon or Devendra Banhart, but The Transformations is the perfect moniker for what could very well be the house band inside a chrysalis. Curse All Summers is out now through Unreal City (which, by the buy, is Weston himself - this a definite DIY affair...)

The Transformations - Pretend To Sleep
The Transformations - Curse The Summer

It is now time for some dorky indie pop, courtesy of Wellington, New Zealand's The Eversons. Their five track self-titled EP is infused with insidiously addictive hooks, marrying the inherent Flying Nun "influences" with the irreverence of Brit bands like Art Brut - hell, 'Hyacinth Girl' has a smidge of The Smiths staining its edges! A heady cocktail of The Beach Boys, The Clean and Pavement with New Zealand accents and lots of four part harmonies, The Eversons' conversational lyrics link arm in arm with the jangly guitar lines to create a shimmery pop structure that is suitably catchy without the possibility of a venereal disease - everyone's idea of a good time, then! Grab The Eversons here.

The Eversons - I'm Conservative
The Eversons - Boyfriend

A perfectly estranged, bewitching listen,Kyle Bobby Dunn's Ways Of Meaning has appealed to me in a way that Tim Hecker's Ravedeath 1972 did - yet where that composition was fully entrenched in its icy surroundings, Dunn's album is ethereal without an origin point, thus transferring you effortlessly to any number of natural environments, whereby it slows down time to a millionth of a second, allowing you to see the path of a deer or a droplet of water form and fall. Its languid nature is incredibly well considered, transfixing the body as it frees the mind. A stellar release, Ways Of Meaning is out through Desire Path Recordings and can be found here - a worthy release.

Kyle Bobby Dunn - Canyon Meadows

The Oakland-based analog synth duo James & Evander have been churning out "future pop" since 2005. Comprised of college friends, Adam Myatt and Glenn Jackson, their discography showcases an exploration of ambient Dntel influenced techno and woozy weed-wave. They have released the Constellating EP + 2, which is a departure for the duo, as it marks their first foray into the land of vocals. As such it has permanently coloured their sound, tempering their electro roots with emotive vocals layered over their signature subdued, lush synth pop that’s equal parts dreamy and alluring. The title track ain't half bad - have a listen...

James & Evander - Constellating

To finish off we have Irish band We Are Losers, who are just about to release their debut double single 'Sunset Song' and 'Cheerleader' (and the first act here was called Cheerleader - oh the serendipity!) through Leeds-based label Dance To The Radio in a fortnight. In the meantime the band have released this freebie, which is very Male Bonding - dissonant, distorted guitars, incessant drums, and echoed pop yelps that create a beautiful cut and paste pop mess. And seeing as I love this style of music, and I love Male Bonding, I love We Are Losers!

We Are Losers - Moany

Happy Fourth of July!!!

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